Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening with Ultrasound

1 April 2019 A study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine casts doubts on the commonly held belief that addition of screening ultrasound to screening mammography improves the rate of breast cancer detection.  It is well known that mammograms do not pick up all breast cancers. In the approximately 40% of women who undergo screening mammography who have dense breasts,…

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Updates to the Mammography Quality Standards Act

30 March 2019 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a statement announcing amendments to the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). The “lay person letter” that patients receive with information about their mammogram results, and aspects of mammography facility quality measures, are part of the MQSA.  As noted in the FDA statement, proposed changes to current regulations include:…

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Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

11 March 2019 A study recently published in JAMA Oncology adds to the growing body of literature noting the advantages of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography, compared to the more widely available digital (2D) mammography (DM). While mammography is still considered the “gold standard” for breast cancer screening, there are some limitations. Approximately 40% of women have…

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FDA Advisory on Thermography

26 February 2019 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication regarding the use of breast thermography as a sole means of breast cancer screening or diagnosis. Thermography has been around for many years, and as seen by the FDA communication, has been the subject of multiple warning letters. Thermography works by detecting patters of heat…

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TMIST Study to Evaluate 3D Mammograms

27 September 2017 3D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis, is becoming more widely available. The thin “slices” (images) make it easier to spot cancers in patients with dense breast tissue. In addition, the use of 3D mammography can decrease the rate of “callbacks” – additional images that are often recommended after a screening mammogram due to uncertainty about the findings.…

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Questions about Gadolinium Safety – MRI Contrast Dye

18 September 2017 Breast MRIs are used in some newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, especially those with dense breast tissue. In addition, they are used as a supplement to mammography in women who are found to be at high risk. In order to distinguish between normal and cancerous tissue, an intravenous contrast dye is used. For MRI studies, the contrast…

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Breast Cancer Screening – Risk Assessment and Breast Density

23 August 2016 A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine evaluated screening mammography taking into account breast density and breast cancer risk. For women age 50-74, the conclusion of the authors was that for women of average risk with low breast density (fatty or scattered fibroglandular), triennial (every 3 year) mammography screening averted the same number of breast cancer…

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Did a 3D Mammogram Save Her Life?

An Oklahoma mayor underwent a 3D mammogram (tomosynthesis) as part of a hospital promotion. She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS, also known as Stage 0 breast cancer) and she stated that the study “…saved my life.” She also recommended that women make sure to obtain a 3D mammogram. The story noted that tomosynthesis “virtually eliminates” the need for…

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Is Dense Breast Notification Too Dense?

26 April 2016 A growing number of states have enacted so-called “dense breast” legislation – requirements that radiology facilities inform patients if they have dense breast tissue, which may limit the sensitivity of mammography. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated the dense breast legislation for 23 states who have these requirements. They evaluated the…

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The Final (???) Word on Screening Mammography

17 January 2016 In October 2015, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated their screening mammography guidelines, raising a lot of questions and concerns as annual mammograms were no longer recommended for all women starting at age 40. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines on screening mammography last week. The new USPSTF guidelines recommend an individualized risk-based approach for women age…

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